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The Pawnshop (1916)

Charlie competes with his fellow shop assistant. He is fired by the pawnbroker and rehired. He nearly destroys everything in the shop and and himself. He helps capture a burglar. He destroys a client's clock while examining it in detail.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Pawnbroker's assistant
Henry Bergman ... Pawnbroker
... His daughter
John Rand ... Other assistant
Albert Austin ... Client with clock
Eric Campbell ... Crook
... Old bum (as James T Kelley)
Frank J. Coleman ... Policeman
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Storyline

Charlie competes with his fellow shop assistant. He is fired by the pawnbroker and rehired. He nearly destroys everything in the shop and and himself. He helps capture a burglar. He destroys a client's clock while examining it in detail.

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

2 October 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

At the Sign of the Dollar  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Unknown Chaplin: The Happiest Years (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Superior Chaplin.
14 November 2011 | by See all my reviews

This is funnier and more inventive than some of his earlier work, and it's completely free of the pathos that would be found in his later work.

Chaplin is an assistant in a pawn shop that's run by a jumbo-sized, bearded older man who is alternately hysterical and furious and who, in both appearance and demeanor, reminded me of my cabinet-maker grandfather. Chaplin shows an amazing physical dexterity in some of the slapstick episodes and I couldn't help comparing them to the same sorts of gags that showed up in Laurel and Hardy. Without knocking Laurel and Hardy, the approaches are entirely different. Laurel and Hardy try desperately to be polite, efficient, and relatively normal. The pace is slower and more deliberate. Chaplin is faster, more aggressive, meaner. He kicks people in the pants for little reason. And he's a whirlwind of action. Even when he pretends to be unconscious in order to gain the attentions of his girl friend, he falls to the floor in a twinkling and is up just as fast to receive her ministrations.

The most memorable scene probably has to do with a customer who brings in an alarm clock. Behind the counter, Charlie exams it as a doctor would examine a patient, percussing its case, twinging its bell, and then he dismantles it roughly before handing the hatful of disordered pieces back to the guy and rejecting it with a shrug.

I think I prefer the shenanigans in the back room but partly because they involve that apoplectic owner and, I guess, because after Charlie knocks an armed robber unconscious he breaks the fourth wall, and whips around with a quick TA-TAH to the camera before the film ends.


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